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Proud parents Cynthia Persad and her husband Ramchand Persad with their son Jayden Persad who passed his first choice school Naparima College.

Sascha Wilson

Writing the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination one day after being beaten and terrorised during a home invasion was no easy task for 12-year-old Jayden Persad.

But two months later Jayden is celebrating having secured his first choice school – Naparima College.

Persad attends San Fernando TML, which also produced top SEA student Ameereh Beekhoo, who was one of Jayden’s classmates.

Overjoyed by his results, Persad yesterday recalled that during the examination, he tried to blank his mind from the terrifying images of the previous day.

Said Jayden, “I am ecstatic and I would like to thank all my teachers, the TML staff and my parents for all the support. I am quite thankful after what I went through, that all my hard work finally paid off.

“During the exam, I tried to forget every bad thing that happened and I tried to think positively and I hoped for the best.”

He told Guardian media his goal is to become either a civil engineer or an architect.

Still haunted by the terrifying events of August 19, in which seven intruders invaded their home with guns, Jayden’s father Ramchand Persad, who was badly beaten by the assailants, cried tears of joy.

Pausing to compose himself during the interview, Persad, a business owner, said, “The last approximately two months have been really challenging for us after our unfortunate incident. Approximately two months later, our son has made us proud. It took him courage and strength beyond any normal child his age to come out on top with achievement like that.”

Thanking his son’s teachers, the school staff and everyone for their support, he said his wife Cynthia was also very instrumental in their son’s academic achievements.

“There is a lot to learn from Jayden’s situation to those out there. If you have your head in the right direction, you can achieve your goals,” Persad said.

Despite the physical and emotional trauma he endured, Jayden’s mother Cynthia said after consulting with the school guidance counsellor and others, they decided to let him still write the SEA exam.

“He worked hard and prepared for months in advance. Even during the lockdown he always had lessons, was always doing past papers and online classes. That day (SEA) I said go and do your best.”

She said their faith and prayers were what helped them through that trying time.

“I think our prayers guided us through that traumatic experience. It was an auspicious time in the Hindu calendar, Ganesh Utsav.”

With COVID-19 halting any grand celebrations, she said they intend to celebrate his achievement with a small family get-together. She also thanked everyone, especially the TML staff, for their support.

The perpetrators who broke into the family’s home, assaulted and robbed them are yet to be arrested by the police.